Temple Terrace to consider grassroots preservation program
TEMPLE TERRACE Owners of historical properties may wish to mark their calendars for an upcoming meeting that may bring them good news. The city, in partnership with the Temple Terrace Preservation Society, is hosting a workshop at 6 p.m. July 25 in the council chambers at city hall, 11250 N. 56th St. Participants will explore the feasibility of establishing an ordinance that would designate Temple Terrace as a Certified Local Government. The collaborative effort common among many other cities, states and the federal government is a grassroots historical preservation measure. Temple Terrace is the only Florida city developed during the 1920s that is not a CLG. If approved by city council members, the policy would provide assurance that the original architecture of significant historical properties dating from the Mediterranean Revival era of 1921-35 and also Mid-Century Modern-style homes from 1945-65 will be preserved, even if they undergo renovations. The measure also would protect them from demolition.The ordinance additionally would provide tax incentives to residents who wish to protect such homes for future generations, said city spokesman Michael Dunn. Plus, it would allow the city to apply for federal grants for research, educational efforts and surveys related to historical properties. Dunn also noted it's important for property owners to understand that the ordinance would apply only to those who opt into the program. It would not be mandated. Tim Lancaster, president of the Temple Terrace Preservation Society, called the prospective designation a "win-win" proposition. "It's obviously a good step toward recognizing and protecting our historical structures," he said. City Councilman Grant Rimbey, former president of the preservation society, also thinks the policy would be advantageous for the city. "Very few people know that we have one of the largest collections of houses by noted 1920s architect M. Leo Elliott anywhere, and we also have a fine collection of Mid-Century Modern buildings," Rimbey said. He noted that Temple Terrace's architectural legacy is something its residents should be proud of. If the city is designated as a Certified Local Government, that also would provide a mechanism for property owners to place their significant historical properties on the National Register of Historic Places, the councilman added. "Being part of the program would increase their property values and the desirability of their properties," said Rimbey, who owns a Mid-Century Modern home in Temple Terrace. Local Realtor Todd Foley, another owner of a Mid-Century Modern home, also is in favor of designating the city as a CLG. "I think it's a terrific idea," he said. "Temple Terrace is lagging a little behind Ybor (City), Hyde Park and Seminole Heights, and the city deserves recognition for some of its homes that were designed by some important architects. And it will keep people from tearing them down." Fell Stubbs, the owner of a 1920s Mediterranean Revival home in Temple Terrace, said that while he's not well-versed on the details of the CLG issue, he tends to believe it would have a positive impact on the community. "It's worth looking into, being that it's very common in other Florida cities," he said. Notices about the workshop have been mailed to about 95 Temple Terrace homeowners whose properties are considered significantly historical, Dunn noted. "We hope to have a good turnout," he said. For more information, email Dunn at [email protected] or call him at (813) 506-6406.